A preliminary military investigation found the dog was muzzled and was only set on the prisoner to scare him.
Israel’s security forces have drawn condemnation after video surfaced of soldiers setting a military attack dog on a Palestinian man who appeared to have surrendered during a night-time arrest last week. The footage shows the dog run toward and jump at the man, who is holding his hands up behind his head.
According to Haaretz, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that the incident occurred in the West Bank city of Al-Bireh near Ramallah last Monday. The paper noted that the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners commission had identified the detainee as Malik Maala, a 19-year-old who works at one of the factories in the city’s industrial area.
In the minute-long clip, which was released on Wednesday, soldiers are seen subduing and arresting Maala after the dog attack. The IDF told Haaretz that the dog had been muzzled and was only released to scare him. The soldiers had reportedly surrounded the compound and warned Maala to come out and surrender prior to the attack.
🇵🇸#Palestine || A security camera record shows IOF released a dog on the Palestinian prisoner Malik Mu'alla while detaining him in Al Berih city last Monday.
جيش الاحتلال يتعمد ترك كلب بوليسي ينهش الأسير مالك معلا لحظة اعتقاله بالبيرة الإثنين الماضي.#FreeThemAll #FreePalestine pic.twitter.com/bqCcNZXD6A
— Humanity._.1st (@ML35209678) February 16, 2022
Following a preliminary investigation, the military concluded that the soldiers’ actions were in keeping with the proper rules of conduct, Haaretz reported. The troops were reportedly afraid that Maala – apparently labeled as an important target – would attempt to escape.
An unnamed IDF spokesperson told the paper that Maala was not harmed during the arrest and claimed he was suspected of involvement in terrorist activity. However, the Palestinian prisoners commission said in a statement that Maala was working as a guard at the facility to raise money for university fees.
Describing the “distressful and cruel” attack as a “barbaric act,” the commission said it was “more proof that clarifies the ongoing methods of the occupation aiming at breaking the will of our people to build a successful and stable future.” It also criticized the “absence” of human rights organizations to “[defend] the minimum rights” of Palestinians.
After the arrest, Maala was taken to an unspecified destination, the commission said, noting that his family had received no information about him as of the statement being issued on Thursday.